Pernod Ricard India appoints Zainab Patel as head-D&I; pushes for diversity

Patel is an out and proud transgender woman who was a UN staff member and has also worked with KPMG


Wine and spirits manufacturer Pernod Ricard India is aggressively pushing for a more diverse workforce and is reiterating their focus on onboading more diverse talent at the top positions. The company has brought on board one of India’s top voices on the subject, Zainab Patel, as the head of diversity and inclusion.

An out and proud transgender woman, Zainab was a United Nations staff member focusing on human rights, gender equality and health in India and the Asia Pacific Region. She has filed multiple strategic litigations on gender-based violence, transgender persons’ rights and marriage equality in India

Patel started her professional journey as a programme manager for The Humsafar Trust in 2001. She stayed with the trust till 2005, before pursuing her MBA from Dr Ram Manohar Lohia Awadh University in 2004. After a brief one-year stint with USAID Avert Society as a targeted intervention specialist, Patel joined the United Nations Development Programme in 2009. She stayed with UNDP for 10 years, initially joining as a programme officer but later being promoted to the position of manager HIV- health and human rights.

She took on her first corporate role with KPMG India in 2019, working as the director for inclusion and diversity. She was a member of the management team leading the strategic vision, planning, and implementation of diversity and inclusion initiatives to fulfil the DEI objectives for KPMG in India. She worked with KPMG till before she took up the position of lead- inclusion and diversity at Pernord Ricard India in February 2022.

Pernod Ricard India has also made multiple other appointments of women in key leadership positions recently, including Nitu Bhushan’s appointment as the CHRO for the company. On these developments, Nitu Bhushan, CHRO, Pernod Ricard India says, “Our aspirational goals and a comprehensive action plan aims to increase diverse representation at all levels and create an even stronger culture of inclusion for all of our people. An early co-relation of our emphasis on fostering an inclusive work environment that includes increased emphasis on diversity in our recruiting, in each of our departments, and in our leadership, is reflected in the continued strengthening of our business case and growth momentum at Pernod Ricard India.”

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